Thank you for coming back to The Kitchn in 2014! All of us feel so lucky to hang out in the kitchen with you, and we're cooking up some new features and events this year that we hope you'll like.
We want to hear directly from you, too: How can we help you be happier as a cook this year? I've been thinking and trying to answer this question myself...
Last week some of our editorial team came to my house in Ohio, where we talked for hours, drank a lot of tea (and maybe a cocktail or two), made pasta in a music-fueled cooking session, hashed out our favorite parts of 2013 and looked ahead to 2014 at The Kitchn. We talked a lot about what we love to write and what we do differently from the many other terrific cooking websites and blogs out there.
Two words bubbled up: happy and honest.
On the one hand, we really try to be honest cooks. We tell you about our mistakes, our failings, the things that we just can't seem to get right. We share the things we've learned, but we strive to leave space for you to add your own learning. We don't know it all. The comments on our posts are often just as valuable as the posts themselves, and we like it like that.
We enjoy and admire aspirational cooking magazines, but we leave the gloss to them. We'd like nothing more than to see as many people as possible getting into the kitchen, getting real food on the table, and that means honest, real-life cooking that meets people where they're at.
We also believe that happy cooks are great cooks. Cooking isn't a particularly romantic pursuit; it can be tough and often a chore. But learning and good tools can make it a happy endeavor that brings you joy and fun every day. Many of my most happy moments are when I'm putting food on the table for friends, or cutting up a perfect piece of fruit. It's thoroughly satisfying to make food with my own two hands, in my own kitchen, which I love.
Happiness in the kitchen is the foundation of everything we do — happier cooks cook more often; they nourish themselves; they return to the kitchen over and over to create warmth in the center of their home, because that's where they're happy.
So, that brings me back to my question: Are you a happy cook? What would make you happier in the kitchen? More recipes? Better lessons in cooking technique? Beautiful kitchens? Kitchens that show you how to get organized? More cats making jam?
For myself, I've been thinking a lot more about health and a long-term frustration and struggle with fitness and weight. Now that's a whole can of worms, I know, and there's a lot to be said on that topic that I'll save for later. But finding a better way of enjoying my food and loving my body would make me happier in the kitchen this year. To that end, one of my personal goals for The Kitchn this year is to get calorie and nutritional information added to our recipes so we can all have just a little more help in cooking the way that makes sense for us and our bodies.
What about you? What would make you happier in the kitchen this year? How can we help? We want to be happy cooks, doing honest cooking with you all year long. What would you like to see?
(Image credits: Lucy Hewett; Leela Cyd)